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Sunday, May 22, 2016


by Jill Crainshaw

she borrowed the suitcase from her cousin
a faded fake leather red one that
stood by the door all those weeks holding
a bathrobe and slippers and baby things ready
to go to the hospital when her first son was born
five years ago now so the suitcase was empty
and made to fit in the overhead
her aunt stuck a magazine in that front
zippered pocket at the last minute
just in case she was hungry for a taste of
home while dining in places far away

it bobs in wild waters now
with sixty-six others spilling out
blouses linen trousers a new blue jacket just in case
those pills she always took to help her sleep
handwritten sticky notes hotel receipts
hidden in the corner from
the trip before the last one
toiletries travel-sized
she planned on returning home
her aunt stares at the television screen
"vanished from radar"
"no survivors"
commentators talk on and on while
she watches wind-swept waves
for something
even a flash of red

Jill Crainshaw is a professor at Wake Forest University School of Divinity in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.